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Jeep Renegade 1.6 MultiJet Limited

Jeep Renegade 1.6 MultiJet Limited

Lee Gibson, 2017-04-17

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SINCE it arrived on these shores in 2015 the chunky little Renegade has been single-handedly transforming the fortunes of legendary 4x4 manufacturer Jeep.

The iconic American brand, now owned by the Fiat Group, enjoyed its best ever year in the United Kingdom in 2016 - with 14,090 new car registrations representing a 30.5 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.

Of those a whopping 11,099 were accounted for by the Renegade, which is becoming an increasingly common sight on our roads.

And it's not just the consumers who have been wowed by this diminutive tough cookie either - the experts at 4x4 Magazine have named it ‘4x4 of the Year' in both 2016 and 2017.

So what has been the key to the Renegade's instant success?

To start with it looks completely different to pretty much anything else available in the compact SUV class, so it goes down well with those who like to stand out from the crowd.

The upright, boxy stance might be regarded as a disadvantage by many rivals but here it is an affectionate nod to the brand's tough, utilitarian heritage.

The squared off front, characteristic slotted grille, round headlamps and trapezoidal wheel arches instantly identify this as a Jeep.

Secondly, and significantly, many Renegades, including the one driven here, are not 4x4s at all - despite Jeep's off-roading pedigree.

Having two-wheel drive options aids driveability and fuel economy and vastly broadens the appeal of this American/Italian contender in a fiercely competitive area of the market.

Unencumbered by the extra weight of all-wheel drive running gear this is a surprisingly sprightly and nimble car to drive.

The 120ps 1.6-litre diesel version I drove packed plenty of punch and, backed up by some good throttle response, felt quicker than the official 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds suggests.

Power is available across a wide rev range and, if you're happy to make use of the compact six-speed manual gearbox, getting and extra injection of pace when on the move is not an issue at all.

There's plenty of grip, even without 4x4, and Jeep have somehow endowed the car with a lower feeling centre of gravity than you'd expect in a motor with a raised ride height and that upright stance.

It feels stable and settled on the road with minimal body roll in corners and is a thoroughly pleasant if not overly engaging drive.

The cabin has the same tough, chunky character as the exterior but, nevertheless, has a high quality look and feel - and also offers plenty of space. Headroom is impressive and three people should cope in the back on all but the longest trips.

Some of the gloss is taken off the comfortable interior, however, by the lack of personal storage space on offer. There are a couple of cup holders in the front but the glovebox, door bins and a compartment under the armrest are all rather small.

Jeep has incorporated a clever cubby under the front passenger seat by way of compensation but this is hardly convenient or readily accessible - especially if someone's sat on the seat.

The boot, at 351 litres, is not the biggest in class either, but it is perfectly adequate for most day-to-day needs, with 60/40 split folding rear seats and an optional adjustable floor adding extra versatility.

Equipment is generous, with even entry level cars getting air conditioning, DAB radio, touchscreen, Bluetooth, and alloy wheels.

Limited grade sits at the top of the range, other than the off-road focused Trailhawk, and, although not cheap, boasts goodies such as a collision mitigation braking system, heated front seats and steering wheel, sat nav, lane departure warning system, privacy glass and rear parking sensors.

Fast Facts

Jeep Renegade 1.6 MultiJet Limited

Price: £24,855

Mechanical: 120ps, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:111mph

0-62mph: 10.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 64.2

Insurance Group:12

C02 emissions: 115g/km

Bik rating:25%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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